You’ve got a company website. A pretty nice one, actually, with lots of bells and whistles—a blog, some content, social sharing buttons, a contact form and it’s all optimized with your keywords. But how well is it actually working for you in terms of SEO, of getting you found by your prospective customers, and for lead generation and conversion?
Effective website design requires you to follow certain protocols for it to work. Here are some of the common boo-boos that you can check for and fix easily:
Boo-Boo No. 1: Over-Optimization
This is also called keyword stuffing and keyword spamming, and it means the overuse of your primary and secondary keywords in the copy on the site. If your website was created more than a year ago it’s possible you’re committing this boo-boo unintentionally.
Early in the development of SEO, the trend was to use a keyword density of up to 7 percent, which meant seven times in every 100 words. Google’s various algorithm updates reduced the density in an effort to make website content more readable and user-friendly, and the acceptable use of keywords is now down to 0.5 percent or once in every 200 words.
How to fix this: Copy and paste the text and keywords from each page of your website into this Keyword Analysis Tool to see what your density is, and change the number of times you use each keyword if it’s too high.
Boo-Boo No. 2: Missing Alt Tags
Darn, those tags! Alt tags are keywords added to any images you use on your site. Search engines aren’t able to index an image (not yet, anyway) so the only way Google Images knows what’s on your site is through your image names and alt tags. You might be posting fabulous photos of various projects, but they aren’t going to work for SEO or lead generation if users don’t know what they are.
How to fix this: Most website platforms such as WordPress and HubSpot have an image library where you can view and edit the alt tags associated with each image. Go through your website in the content management system view and click on each and every image. Insert tags that state briefly what the image is in a way that includes your primary keywords.
Boo-Boo No. 3: Duplicate Content
Nope, we aren’t talking about plagiarism this time. Google hates duplicate content and its algorithm is set to flag it as spam. Once again, if you haven’t updated your site in a while this could be unintended. If you send out press releases on a periodic or regular basis and publish them on your website, you could be committing this boo-boo. Remember the “About” boilerplate section at the end of each press release? Well, if you’re publishing those in their entirety (including the boilerplate) then guess what? You have duplicate SEO content on your site!
How to fix this: Open a Copyscape account and buy 200 credits for $10. Paste the URL of your website into the window and click Add to Private Index. Then run the URL for each page of copy to check it against both the private index and the internet, which will highlight wherever you have more than five identical words in sequence. Make slight text changes on identified pages until you get a “No Results Found” response. Check each new page of future copy against the Index before publishing it.
Boo-Boo No. 4: Insufficient Backlinks
Backlinks help Google to connect the dots that lead to your service and to build credibility for your site, which helps it rise in the search rankings. Called off-page SEO, backlinks are links back to your website from other places online. Setting up a Google Analytics account is free and simple, and you’ll be able to see how many sites have links to yours and which pages they link to. If there are very few or the number doesn’t change, you don’t have enough.
How to fix this: Create social media profiles and post links to your content on them. Comment intelligently on other blogs and discussion forums relating to your business and ensure you post a link in your signature. Don’t buy into hype offers to get you hundreds of backlinks—these are spammy sites and will hurt your search results.
Most of this can be done with minimal knowledge of SEO or your website’s content management system. If you have a problem with it, however, an inbound marketing agency should be able to help you sort it out before you get penalized for bad practices.